|By Zach Rausnitz||Comment | Forward | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn|
Eight of the 10 U.S. cities most vulnerable to sea level rise are in Florida, according to a March 14 report (.pdf) from research organization Climate Central.
The report ranks cities based on the population residing less than 4 feet above local high tide. New Orleans has the largest population less than 4 feet above the high tide, but that includes a significant number of people who are protected by levees. The next largest population is in New York City, followed by Hialeah, Fla., a city of about 225,000 people in Miami-Dade County.
The report touts itself as the first major national analysis of sea level rise in 20 years; it also says it's the first such report to ever include estimates of land, population and housing at risk and evaluations of every low-lying coastal town, city, county and state in the contiguous United States.
Rising seas increase the odds of "century" or worse floods--those that are so high they'd historically be expected just once per century. For more than half the locations analyzed, global warming at least triples the odds of century-plus floods over the next 18 years, the report says.
At three-fourths of the 55 sites analyzed, century levels are higher than 4 feet above high tide. Yet across the country, nearly 5 million people live at less than 4 feet above high tide.
In Florida's Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties, about $30 billion in taxable property is vulnerable below the 3-foot line, the report says, citing a preliminary analysis by the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, a joint effort coordinated by those three counties and Miami-Dade County.